The physics seem unlikely: Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu caught a pop foul Saturday that bounced off the mitt of catcher Adrian Nieto and landed between Abreu's legs after both players nearly collided near the Kansas City Royals dugout.
Abreu and Nieto — both first-year major leaguers — converged on a pop-up by Alcides Escobar in the bottom of the third inning, with Abreu skidding hard to a stop just before what would have been a dangerous collision with Nieto. Apparently also sensing imminent disaster, Nieto went into a slide and reached for the ball with his mitt, but could not make the catch. The ball bounced, traveling no farther than a foot and plopped between his thighs. Abreu stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 260 pounds, so those are considerable thighs.
While backing away from Nieto and holding his knees together, Abreu managed to reach between his legs, pull out the ball and show it to umpires without it falling to the ground. A catch; putout 2-3.
The play brought a big smile to the face of White Sox left-hander John Danks, who was making his first start of the season. The Royals won 4-3, but none of their players caught anything between their legs. In his first season since coming over from Cuba, Abreu has appeared nothing if not prepared for life in Major League Baseball. He's off to a great start at bat and in the field.
His between-the-legs play also reminded White Sox voice Ken Harrelson of a similar-ish moment with Pete Rose and Bob Boone that's famous from old highlight reels. It happened during the 1980 World Series:
Nothing between the legs, thank goodness, but we do get to see Pete dribble out the play on the Veteran's Stadium AstroTurf.
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